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India: Govt to screen newborns for Zika-related defect

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  • India: Govt to screen newborns for Zika-related defect

    Posted at: Jul 13, 2017, 2:00 AM; last updated: Jul 13, 2017, 2:00 AM (IST)
    Govt to screen newborns for Zika-related defect

    Aditi Tandon
    Tribune News Service
    New Delhi, July 12
    The Ministry of Health has now decided to screen all newborns at 55 major government tertiary-care hospitals across the country for possible cases of Zika-related microcephaly, a birth defect where a child’s head is much smaller than normal.
    “After prolonged discussions with experts, the Health Ministry has decided to screen newborns with head circumference of less than 31 cm for Zika-related microcephaly. Their blood will be subjected to testing to rule out the virus. The programme will start soon and it will be part of the country’s efforts to strengthen birth defects screening among newborns,” Dr Ajay Khera of the ministry said.
    These 55 institutes include AIIMS New Delhi, AIIMS-like institutions, PGI Chandigarh, JIPMER, among others. These are the ones where the Centre recently started its national birth defects surveillance programme to study defect trends and causes. These institutes are already screening newborns for eight birth defects, including neural tube defect.
    Twitter: @RonanKelly13
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